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Visitor Industry Recognizes Tourism Leaders at Conference

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Pierre, S.D. – Gov. Mike Rounds presented Tourism’s top awards to industry leaders Thursday at the closing banquet of the 2005 Governor’s Conference on Tourism. The Ben Black Elk Award was awarded posthumously to Peter Norbeck, whose passion and enthusiasm has greatly influenced South Dakota’s visitor industry. The concept of Iron Mountain Road in the Black Hills was the vision of Norbeck. He also was one of the driving forces behind the effort to carve Mount Rushmore. He helped raise funds for South Dakota’s most famous visitor attraction and helped to select the four presidents whose faces were carved there by Gutzon Borglum. The award was accepted by Richard Miller of Custer State Park. Gary Howey, the man behind “Outdoorsmen Adventures,” was honored with the A.H. Pankow Award. This annual award honors a member of the media whose coverage and promotion of the state’s visitor industry is paralleled. The award recognizes Howey for bringing South Dakota’s outdoors story to more than 25 million households in 48 states. Howey grew up in South Dakota, left the state, yet continues to promote the land of Great Faces and Great Places extensively to outdoor enthusiasts. Custer State Park received the George S. Mickelson Great Service Award. The award recognizes a business or organization dedicated to promoting exceptional hospitality and customer service. Custer State Park exceeds visitor-industry standards for training and actively recognizes employees for providing high levels of customer service. Craig Pugsley accepted the award. All three awards were presented during a banquet hosted by the South Dakota Office of Tourism.